Meet Grum. The Scottish musicians unique brand of feel good dance music including his single Sound Reaction and a remix of Lady Gagas monster hit Bad Romance -- already has critics on both side of the pond hailing him as the next big thing in electronic music. His full-length album is due out in the U.S. early this year and until then hes keeping himself busy remixing songs for Passion Pit, Priors, Chelley, and Friendly Fires. Recently we caught up with the beat-meister to talk about his futuristic high-tech cover art, Lady Gaga, and buying his wardrobe at the Jonas Brothers' merch table.
How did you get into electronic music?
I guess when I was a younger, when I was like 14 or 15, trance music was really big in Europe. That was like the big thing. I really liked it. I liked the melodies and the production. That got me interested in it.
There are so many electronic musicians these days. How do you set yourself apart?
I really like to just do my own thing and draw on my influences, and use them to create something new, I guess. I think a lot of electronic producers like to copy whats big at the time. They never really focus that much on the music. I think with me, thats something I like to [do]. Im not too concerned with whether its cool or if it will sound like the top 10. Im just happy to keep making music that I like.
Your name -- Grum -- does that mean something?
It started out as a nickname when I was beginning. I dont know if it was because one day I was grumpy or something like that. [Laughs.] But, you know, it was a bit of a nickname thing. And I was making my MySpace page and I thought yeah, that sounds good.
Did MySpace play a big part in the start of your career?
Yeah, I think if it werent for MySpace, then I wouldnt be where I am now. I would maybe be there, but it would take a lot longer. It has allowed me to kind of have a worldwide popularity. People from all over the world have heard my music, and theyve booked me to play in their countries. So its allowed me to travel and play gigs all over the place.
Coming off of that, Hype Machine claims that youre the second most blogged about act in the world after Radiohead. Why do you think that is?
I dont know really. I think people are kind of ready for my sort of music right now. The last two or three years, weve had the big, noisy kind of dance music. [The] phase was digital stuff, like Justice and stuff like that. And thats big, grinding noisy music. And maybe what Im trying to do is a bit happier, a bit more fun to dance to. Maybe not as serious, but good music to listen to. So I think people are ready for a bit of a change now.
How excited were you to do an official remix of Lady Gagas Bad Romance?
[Laughs.] Extremely. That was incredible. I was amazed that they asked me to do it. I wouldnt say Im a huge fan of Lady Gaga, but obviously she has a very individual voice, and obviously thats a huge offer.
How did that happen? Did they approach you?
Yeah, I think they just got in touch with my manager -- the label. And we just did it.
Do you prefer doing remixes or making original pieces [listen to Grum's single, "Sound Reaction" here]?
I enjoy parts of both, really. Playing with remixes, I like to challenge myself because when you change a track and make something new, it puts it in a different place. I think its good to build that -- its like a challenge. But with original tracks, I feel like I have a bit more room to be creative, and that can be good. But I think all in all, I like to do my own tracks because I like to get my own ideas down.
It seems like your music has a really big '80s new wave vibe, especially with the Bad Romance remix.
Thats probably one of my favorite decades of music so its a massive influence on me. I just get inspired by different kinds of bands. I love Duran Duran, stuff like that. I just like all the big, warm synthesizer sounds and the melodies.
What would you say is the craziest thing that influences you?
I would say the sort of trance music I liked when I was younger is so kind of out there. I think what that sort of taught me is that you can have big moments and contrast, and it doesnt have to be rave noises. It can be more melodic and uplifting.
Tell me about your album cover. I read that if you take a picture of the artwork -- whether it's in a magazine or on a billboard or wherever -- using your cell phone and a certain application, you'll be linked to your site and can purchase songs instantly.
We were working an artist called David Ross who came up with the idea, and I really liked it. I wanted to go for it. I think its quite good to bring new technology into this sort of marketing campaign. I think its one of those things thats very much growing. Maybe not 100% successful, but it was [an option for] a lot of people to check out my music. I think its good to do these things and try new ideas. It will be something you kind of look back on because its interesting. I think it makes great artwork, as well.
Have you found success with that at all?
I think its kind of peaked some. I think the idea was more just the premise to just do it and see what happened. Obviously we dont have a huge campaign budget, so it was a case of my manager and my label [trying] things. Its attracted some attention, so its done quite well.
You recently tweeted that you were getting a Jonas Brothers T-shirt. For real?
Big JoBros fan?
Well, I was looking on the website, and I thought it might be funny to get a T-shirt for gigs, you know? Might get some interesting song requests. I wouldnt say I was so much a fan. [Laughs.]
So who would you rather remix, Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus? You have to pick.
[Laughs.] Id probably go for Miley Cyrus because I think her voice would go a lot better with my production. [Laughs.]